5 leadership lessons learned on a zipline

I did something this weekend that took me outside of my comfort zone. After suiting up with harnesses and learning the safety rules, I trekked with my group up a hill then climbed a rope to a platform 50 feet in the air that swayed in the wind – on purpose.

That’s where we jumped off to sail through the air at Seven Springs Mountain Resort on a zipline. I had thought about it for the past year and decided it was time to take the leap of faith – and just do it.

Not only did it I grow from the experience; it taught me lessons of leadership I was able to bring home.

zipline professional solo

To conquer a goal, you have to want it more than you fear it.
People like Gary Wandel, who live for adventure, inspired me. Seeing photos and reading about The Screaming Hawk Zipline moved me. And my daughter, Alyssa, who just earned her graduate degree and is on the brink of starting her career, supported me. I wanted to do this to better me and to inspire her. The thing I feared more than ziplining was staying where I was.

zipline coming in to platform

To grow, get out of your circle.
I didn’t want to zipline with a family member or a friend. I wanted to zipline with strangers. This way, I’d have to rely on my own courage and faith to see me through. I also wanted to meet people who I otherwise wouldn’t know. In our group of seven, there were six members of the Jaime family, who were here from Mexico. They were fun, confident and relaxed. Their example made me more brave to be flying solo.

zipline professional group

To move forward, trust in the people around you.
Our guides, Kensie and Phil, knew their jobs inside and out. I trusted in their knowledge to lead us and I trusted that the equipment they were managing would keep us in the air until it was time to put our feet back on the ground. When you trust in people and allow them do their jobs, great things can happen.

Zipline high in sky on bridge

To reach your goal, focus only on what matters.
When I was walking on the bridge, I realized the ground below didn’t matter. The only thing that did matter was the wooden board I was stepping on and the one that was next. Everything else was just a blur. The journey to your next goal should be like that too.

zipline silly group

To do what you love, you’ve got to love what you do.
We were a team on a mission – To push ourselves to new heights and to have fun. Instead of looking for purpose in your life, give purpose to the life you live. No matter what you do, take pride in your efforts and see the bigger picture of how what you do impacts others.

You know that comfort zone; that place where things come easy? It’s time to get out of it. Whether it’s your education, your job, your business, or the mile you ran today – take it to the next level. It’s time to grow.


  One thought on “5 leadership lessons learned on a zipline

  1. larryorlando2013
    July 6, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Wow, Mary. Congrats. I will just keep both feet on the ground. I must be missing the “thrill” gene.

  2. July 7, 2014 at 3:59 am

    Thanks, Larry. That’s OK. If I was born with this gene, I only just discovered it!

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